Gear : Skimboard
Kite skimming has become extremely popular in the past year due to being a viable light wind option for most kiters. Skims not only allow kiters to use smaller kites in light wind, they provide a challenging experience as well. From low-wind speed to surface handle-passes, skim boards are popping up all over the summer kite scene.
Buying a Skim
There are a huge number of skims out there, and what style to buy often confuses people. You want to narrow down whether you are looking for a regular skim or a “kite specific” skim, and go from there.
- Regular Production Skims – These are first and foremost for skimboarding. There is no reason why they won’t work for kiting, however, there are some things you want to look for before buying. Cheap wood skims will not work for kiting, as they are designed to work in inches of water and carry no float or rocker. Foam core skimboards is what you should look for, in the largest size you can find. You are looking for a stiff board with lots of surface area for light wind kite skimming. You will need a little rocker to deal with chop.
- Budget – Plan on spending between $150 and $300. Stomp pads are an additional $30.
- Why Buy? – Cheap light wind option, will increase your sessions and skills.
- Brands and Models – SurfTech Morfeous or Rasta LE, Victoria Foamie, Zap Pro,
- Sizes – Look for a length of 48” or larger, and a width of 20” or wider. The more surface area the better!
- Kite Specific Skims - More and more companies are producing “kite specific” skims. These skims are most often modified versions of production skims that include fin inserts and/or strap mounting options. Kite specific skims are not always the best light wind skims, as some are made for wave riding (i.e. The Crazy Fly Skim). Remember that part of the reason why skims work so well for light wind is that they do not have the increased drag created by straps and fins.
- Budget – These run from $300 to $600+.
- Why Buy? – Strap and fin options allow you to use the skim in more than just light winds.
- Brands and Models – Nobile Skim is the most popular and best suited. The Victoria Krux is another nice board. Crazy Fly makes a “high wind” skim.
- Sizes – Most kite specific skims are one size only.
Stomp Pad or Sex Wax?
Surfers and skimmers have debated this for a long time. The general consensus is that a stomp pad in the back and wax in the front is the best way to go for a kite skim. Wax requires more upkeep and tends to be a little messy if you are keeping your gear in a car. Stomp pads don’t quite offer the same “stick” as wax, but the raised tail can help push, and they also limit your foot placement.
Strapped or Strappless?
True kite skimmers don't use straps! Straps will allow you to use a skim in higher wind, but for the most part, defeat the purpose of skimming. Straps create drag in the water. Straps limit your foot placement. Straps take away from the "challenge" of skimming. Go strapless!
Fin or Finless?
Fins allow a kiter to limit the squirelly nature of a skimboard, keeping it from "twisting" while riding. This comes at the cost of adding extra drag in the water and limiting the depth of water you can travel through. It's a trade off, but the overall effect of going with or without fins is minimal.